The Girl With The Bow
Book One in the Nyla Series
(C) 2013, 2016 Adam Cole
Published by Nuncici Press, an imprint of Adam Cole Works LLC
They worked their way down the side of the mountain, ignoring the occasional tremor from beneath their feet. Nyla did not speak to Vival as they traveled. He found her new silence uncomfortable. He was sorry to have made her angry, but he had a quest to complete whether she liked it or not. Besides, he wouldn’t have left a young girl where she didn’t belong. He knew what it was like to be abandoned.
As they descended towards the wild grassy slope, the sword in Vival’s hand starting singing. Curtly Vival told it to stop, and it complied. After a moment he thought he could still hear the tune, and he suspected the sword had retreated to humming. But each time he stopped, all he could make out was the sound of the wind through the grasslands. After failing his third attempt to catch the sword in the act, Nyla finally spoke up.
“What are you doing?”
“It’s the sword,” Vival said, adding bitterly, “I think it’s humming just to bother me.”
“Why don’t you leave that sword alone?” said Nyla crossly. “It never did nothing to you.”
Vival didn’t have an answer to this, so he changed tactics. “How do you feel about sailing?”
“I don’t like it,” responded Nyla.
That wasn’t what Vival had hoped to hear.
“Well…you’re going to have to. It’s the only way—“
“No I don’t!” Nyla interrupted, stopping along the hillside and looking down at him with her hands on her hips.
“Yes you do,” said Vival, sounding as patient as he could, “because it’s the only way—“
“I don’t care!” Nyla said. “I ain’t getting in no boat.”
“Then how do you expect us to get off this island?”
“I don’t know!” Nyla said. This wasn’t her problem. She folded her arms and looked away.
“Look…” Vival said. This conversation wasn’t going at all the way he had hoped it would. “I’m a good sailor and I’ll make sure you’re safe.”
“I’m not getting in no boat,” Nyla said again, as if he hadn’t heard her the first time.
“Why not?” asked Tom the sword unexpectedly from Vival’s back.
“Because,” Nyla shot back, looking sidewise at the sword. She had not expected to hear from it.
Vival was about to tell the sword to shut up again, but before he could speak, it went on. “I used to be afraid of boats,” it said. “I was terrified I was going to fall overboard, get dropped during some horrible fight, sink to the bottom of the sea. That’s it for a sword, you know. Jewels and golden rings do all right under the water. They can stay there forever. But a sword? After a while, we’re just going to rust. Rust and rot away.” Vival looked at Nyla. She was still standing with her arms crossed, but her expression had softened some. “Do you worry about that sort of thing?” the sword asked her.
“Well, not rusting,” Nyla said. “But rotting.”
“Oh, I know what you mean,” said the sword quickly, before Vival could interject. “Those fish at the bottom would love to nibble on us.”
“Hey!” Vival finally interjected. “That’s not helpful!” He was about to try to take a turn reassuring Nyla when she spoke first.
“Wouldn’t they cut themselves on you?”
“Oh, I suppose,” answered the sword pleasantly from Vival’s back. “But there are other kinds of things in the sea that might eat away at me, slimy things, slugs or algae or what have you. I don’t know.”
“But we could wrap you in something!” Nyla said. “We could make sure you stay dry, even if you fall overboard.”
“Say, that’s a good idea,” said Tom. “What do you suggest?”
“I don’t know…” Nyla said. “Vival, do you have something in the boat?”
“I have some cloth,” Vival said. “It wouldn’t help much, though. It’ll get wet just like everything else.”
“What if we fastened him onto something?” she asked. “You know, wrap him in the cloth to make sure he’s dry, pat him down every day or so, and then keep him nailed to the side?”
“He’s just a sword,” Vival tried to say. “He belongs in the hold with the other things.”
“He’s not just a sword!” Nyla cried. “He can talk! He’s my friend.”
“Well, thanks!” said the sword. “I like you, too. Say, do you suppose I could be fastened to the mast? That way I could talk to you the whole time.”
“Yes!” cried Nyla. “That’d be great. Can we, Vival?”
Vival was about to protest, but then it occurred to him that Nyla was no longer making objections about sailing on a boat. Vival considered himself a slow learner, but he recognized an improved situation when he saw one. Shrugging, he acquiesced to this plan without actually knowing how it would work.
More about The Girl With The Bow
When Vival, Knight of the Fittest, risked his life to rescue the princess from Veer Isle, he never thought he’d be the one who needed to be rescued. And to make matters worse, the girl he was helping didn’t want to leave! The first book in the Nyla series introduces Vival, Knight of the Fittest, Tom the Incredibly Helpful Sword, two mysterious island dwellers named Cher and Sherluck, and Nyla, the mysterious girl with the bow.
Adam Cole is an author and music educator in Atlanta, GA. He has written numerous books and stories for children, as well as a number of adult and non-fiction titles including The Speed of Darkness and Seven Ways the World Can End.
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